Now I do want to talk for a few minutes about five different guys. Pay attention because you are probably married to one of them. These guys have all disclosed at least some of their sexual sin and addictive behaviors to a counselor and/or their wives, but in terms of recovery and healing, they are all at totally different places. As you read, look for your husband, remembering that recognizing where he is spiritually and emotionally won’t change him. It is the work of God in his heart that will make the difference. Your job, as I’ve said before, is to pray for him and to work on your stuff. With that in mind, let’s look at the line-up.
We’ll start with Broken Brad. Brad is serious about his healing and restoration. Disclosure was for him the first step toward freedom. He feels greatly relieved to have all of the secrets out in the open, but he is far from a carefree happy guy. The more he comes to his senses, the more pain and regret he is feeling about what he has done. He is diligently pursuing God and sifting and sorting with a counselor. Relationships with other men have become a focus in his life, and for the first time, he is experiencing real intimacy with his peers. Every day he realizes how much he has hurt his wife and family, and his love for them is beginning to blossom into a desperate desire for freedom so that he will not hurt them again. As he relates to his wife, he is very understanding and patient; he knows she needs time to grieve and to see him being consistent over time.
The second guy in the line up is Flippant Fred. Now Fred has disclosed all of his sins and is feeling quite free from all of that sexual addiction stuff. He has felt very sorrowful about his sin, and he’s made a good start in the process—getting back into God’s Word, going to support group, seeing his counselor occasionally. But Fred is getting sucked into the illusion that since he has confessed his sin, he will no longer struggle sexually. He’s not really into looking at his past. You can’t blame your past, you know. You’ve got to make choices in the present. Fred is also not very patient with his wife’s grieving process. Although he may not say it out loud, he really doesn’t understand why she can’t just get over it. Six months should be enough for her to let go of it all and let things get back to normal.
Next in line is Red-Handed Randy. Randy got caught, and the only thing he is really sorry about is getting caught. He really doesn’t think he’s got a problem. Men just have different needs than women. It’s a guy thing. He’s told his wife as little as possible to get her off his back and made a show of getting help. Since he does care about his wife and doesn’t want to lose his family, he’s seen a counselor a couple of times and talked to the guy in charge of the support group. But he figures if he just lays low for a while, gives his wife a lot of attention and buys a few things she’s been wanting for the house, that everything will blow over and life can continue as it was. God is really not in the picture. Randy believes in Him but is unable to relate to Him on a personal level. Whenever he feels bad about himself or what he’s done, he just promises himself that he won’t do it again and escapes the pain in some way—usually by throwing himself into his work or zoning out while watching sports.
Guy number four is Blaming Bill. Bill’s not sorry he got caught; he’s mad. The only thing his wife knows about is the thing she caught him doing. And Bill isn’t planning on disclosing anything else, ever. Anytime she brings up the subject, Bill blows up and tells her either to let it go or leave him. He’s not the problem. Her lack of forgiveness is. Bill won’t take responsibility for his actions, and he habitually blames everyone else for all his problems. The inappropriate sexual behavior is his wife’s fault because she won’t have sex every time he wants to, or it’s the media’s fault because they saturate society with sexual images. Bill goes to counseling and discovers even more people to blame. It’s his dad’s fault because he demanded perfection. It’s his mom’s fault for not nurturing him like she should have. Bill, of course, is not very fun to live with. His wife’s only respite is when he is blaming someone besides her for his problem. Things are half-way bearable on those days. Anger and defensiveness are the hallmarks of Bill’s life, and he can’t heal because he can’t see that he’s the only one responsible for his actions.
Finally, we come to Run-Away Rob. Rob handles the reality of his sexual addiction by pretending that it doesn’t exist. Confronted with evidence of sexual sin, Rob admits to what he’s done and may share bits and pieces of the whole picture, but Rob doesn’t spend a whole lot of time in reality, so it’s difficult for him to be completely honest. Different Robs live in denial in different ways. Some Run-Away Robs just leave the relationship and move on to other relationships and other marriages. Others become so depressed that they are unable to feel or function normally. Still other Robs escape reality by using drugs or abusing alcohol or engaging in other addictive behaviors. Rob may have a relationship with God but since he can’t be real with Him either, Rob feels totally disconnected. The best way to describe Rob is numbed out. He can’t feel, so he can’t heal. Most Robs are really nice guys—funny, laid-back, friendly. The problem is that they can’t tolerate pain long enough to deal with the problem. It’s hard for Rob to leave the comfortable no-feelings existence he has created to insulate himself and to do the pain required to get well. Of course, watching his wife grieve is really uncomfortable, so he either tries to get her to laugh or acts like nothing has happened between them, going on with life as usual.
–Melissa Haas, The Journey: Book One
Other Recent Posts on Disclosure: